Cape Town - Ousted Kannaland mayor Jeffrey Donson has told Independent Media that the community are outraged at the successful vote of no confidence against him.
He also referred to his ousting as a witch hunt and suggested the media was out to destroy him.
Donson further claimed he never raped the 15-year-old minor, of which he was convicted for statutory rape.
Following the November local government elections, the leader of the Independent Civic Organisation of South Africa (Icosa) clung to the mayoral position for the past few months following calls from political parties and civil society that he should resign because of his rape conviction.
A motion of no confidence was tabled in a council meeting held in the Kannaland Municipality on Wednesday. He will, however, still hold a position as ward councillor representing the party in the Kannaland municipality.
In an exclusive interview with Independent Media, Donson said he had never spoken to media houses about the alarm bells raised against him.
He further stated that while the court may have found him guilty of statutory rape, he is not guilty. Donson said he took the matter on appeal as there was no substantial evidence against him.
The Icosa leader was convicted of statutory rape and indecent assault while Kannaland mayor in 2008. His victim was 15 years old.
After lodging an appeal in the Western Cape High Court, Donson’s five-year sentence was reduced to a wholly suspended term of imprisonment, correctional supervision, a R20 000 fine, and a rehabilitation programme for sex offenders.
“I will curb any violence against a man, woman, or child. I’ll never stand as mayor if I do not have respect for the community.
“I will never rape someone. The court never found me guilty. I never had sex with the 15-year-old. There was no evidence. I’m not guilty, but I was found guilty.I will never rape a woman or child. Just because I was found guilty, doesn't mean I am guilty,” Donson said.
Commenting on the motion of no confidence brought against him, the ousted mayor said the community of Kannaland are outraged at his exit. He said Icosa would meet soon to pave the way forward following Wednesday’s meeting.
The ANC in the Western Cape broke ties with the Kannaland municipality after public outrage at his rape conviction.
Donson further claimed that the scenario paints a picture of a “witch hunt” and accused the media of trying to destroy him. “There are other politicians with bigger cases against them, but the media focuses on me.”
“The community are upset because they feel that their votes to keep Icosa in power have been taken for a joke,” he said.
DA constituency head for Kannaland, Gillion Bosman, said the opposition welcomed the removal of Donson.” I hope this change in leadership benefits the people of Kannaland and that the municipality can finally focus on service delivery.”
Action Society spokesperson Ian Cameron echoed Bosman’s sentiments, saying Donson should have never been considered for the position. “Though we still feel strongly that no government official with a conviction for child rape, or any type of criminal record for that matter, should serve in the public office. The government cannot say it is fighting gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) in South Africa whilst employing rapists.
“Action Society believes that the only way to start curbing the scourge of GBVF in our country is if the justice system clamps down on perpetrators and they get punished swiftly and harshly. The total opposite is currently happening. It seems like convicted rapists are being rewarded for their behaviour,” Cameron said.
The motion of no confidence comes after speaker Nicolaas Valentyn and acting municipal manager Morné Hoogbaard received a letter from Rodge Albertus of the Kannaland Independent Party (KIP) on 11 January.